Health and Social Care Bill

Memorandum submitted by Moira Gommon (HS 43)

Background

a) I have recently retired from the NHS where I worked as a CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) Therapist.

b) I am the mother of a child who, before his death age 10, received a great deal of treatment from the NHS due to his having a degenerative brain condition and not fully controlled epilepsy,

c) I am the wife of a man who last January was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and who underwent a very successful 8 hour whipple section operation at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and who has now completed a course of chemotherapy

d) I am part of a campaigning group on Merseyside "Defend Our NHS"

Evidence

i) I am concerned that moving commissioning from PCTs to GP Consortia and stating that new contracts will be put out to competitive tendering will mean that all new contracts will be subject to European competition laws and could result in private health care companies from Europe, the US or elsewhere, both actually running some GP consortia and some services. I do not feel that sits well with the government’s "Localism" policy

ii) I am concerned about the lack of accountability to local people and to patients of the proposed GP Consortia and of any services run by private health care companies. Local representatives do need to be on the management boards of these companies and GP consortia

iii) I am concerned that those with mental health issues and long term chronic conditions, such as those suffered by my son, will not be financially attractive areas of activity to private health care providers and so will be come even more Cinderella services. Private firms will be able to "cherry pick" leaving these complex or unpopular areas to a shrinking NHS.

iv) I am concerned that these reforms will break up the NHS services and lead the way to privatisation. In this case private companies will be running services for profit and not for the benefit of all patients.

v) I am concerned that the reforms will result in people having to travel to get the treatment they need, which may be OK for those with good salaries, but not for those who are poor and vulnerable, or for those wanting to visit friends and family.

vi) I think that the problems within the NHS should be sorted out within the current structure. Moving from PCTs to GP consortia will be very expensive. This is unforgivable at a time of such ferocious cuts. There is no guarantee that GP consortia will be any better at managing their contracts than PCTs. Many, including me, feel that they will be worse.

vii) I cannot see how having more GP consortia that there were PCTs will save money. I think this will increase bureaucracy and administration costs.

February 2011